battery sparks when connected then drains - Honda Foreman Forums : Rubicon, Rincon, Rancher and Recon Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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battery sparks when connected then drains

Let me start by saying I have changed nothing electrically on my ATV. This just happened out of the blue.

A couple weeks ago I used my ATV for yard work all day. Worked fine. Went to use it the next day and the dash just indicated -- for the gear and it wouldn't start. I didn't have the manual shifter (now I have one) and couldn't get it into a gear using a wrench, so I thought the battery was just too low. Hooked up a charger. When I reconnected the battery I smelled, and saw, smoke from under the battery somewhere (not directly under the battery...basically it wafted up from under the rear wheel well). Immediately disconnected the battery and left it disconnected so it wouldn't burn my garage down. Went back a couple days later, hooked the battery up and didn't smell or see smoke so I left it connected.

I went to use it yesterday and the battery was completely dead. Nothing on the dash. I put the charger on Start, started it and used it off and on over the afternoon (initially I could only shift manually until the battery took some more charge), hooking it up to the charger in between uses. After a while I was able to start it and shift electronically. if it matters, i only pull start my atv (starter has just been clicking for years...tired of replacing starters).

When I originally had the problem I noticed a spark that seemed more than normal when I connected the battery. Looked online and lots of people say that's normal because there's always a small draw even when the atv is off.

When I hooked up the charger yesterday I noticed what seemed to me like a larger than normal spark. I kept it on the charger all night and haven't yet checked it today. My intent is to see if it charged, then keep it off the charger to see if it holds a charge. I suspect it will not.

I'm guessing the original smoke was from a short, which is possibly drawing current all the time and draining the battery? Is the large spark an indication of that? if so, how do I possibly find the short...or if that's not the problem any ideas? This is a pretty old battery.

My charger does not have an on/off switch. Once I plug it in it's hot. I say that because I have read that maybe the charger is bad and shorting the battery. So maybe the battery is actually toast...although it did seem to charge yesterday. And I did always connect the battery correctly (+ and -), so that's not the problem.

Any help would be appreciated. Need to get this thing working soon because I head up the deer shack in 2 weeks.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 11:13 AM
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well first off, I have NEVER had a battery spark when hooking it up, that's NOT normal, so there shouldn;t be ANY spark when hooking up a battery
actually if your having some, your at risk of a battery exploding, seen them do it and its NEVER pretty or safe!

so, ?? some how your making contact with things to ground something to get an arc!, not bashing here just saying, a battery will NOT spark on its own ina normal install and correct working system!

NEXT< to rule out battery pull and have load tested!
odds are its GONE< all the more so if you have a short, which it most likely seems like to me

MY guess is insulation has worn off and is touching metal, and or a mouse maybe chewed on some wires
you need to back track wires from batter till you find it
would also suggest checking all your fuses!

arching wires and short's can lead to fires as you know!

SO, I would NOT be leaving the battery connected till you find your problem!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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You've jarred my memory. The initial problem when the dash showed -- for the gear was actually a blown fuse. Found that resolution online. I highly doubt its a mouse problem since it literally happened overnight. Possible, but doesn't seem probable.

So, the steps leading up to the problem were:
1. -- on dash
2. disconnect battery and charge. No change to dash.
3. Replace fuse.
4. Hook up battery...smoke...leave battery disconnected.
5. Hook up next day with no problems (hoping problem magically fixed itself overnight..ha ha).
6. Used yesterday with dead battery. i did not disconnected the battery yesterday. The somewhat larger spark happens when I hook up the charger (although i can go test if it happens when I disconnect/connect the battery).

I'm going out to garage now to check on battery. If I get a chance today I'll try to trace the battery cable backwards. It is possible that a wire somewhere wore the insulation off. I'm leary to just throw another battery on it before I find out if there's another issue (which the blown fuse seems to point to...although the fuse hasn't blown since the initial problem with the -- on dash).
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 09:13 PM
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Do you have a multi meter? With everything off, disconnect the negative battery cable and take an amp meter reading between the negative cable, and the negative battery post.

A few milliamperes would be expected, but start in the high amp range as I suspect you have high key off draw.

Typically the + side of the ignition switch, and the voltage regulator are connected to the battery, but check the diagram for your machine. If that is the case, and you have high key off drain, try disconnecting the voltage regulator and retest.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 11:56 AM
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It can be normal to see a small spark if there's any residual memory being kept. Could be a digital dash, clock, stereo, computer, etc.


However, if the magic smoke is escaping from the wiring, there's a definite problem with that. I wonder if Lucas (prince of darkness) still sells replacement smoke?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moccasin Ranger View Post
It can be normal to see a small spark if there's any residual memory being kept. Could be a digital dash, clock, stereo, computer, etc.


However, if the magic smoke is escaping from the wiring, there's a definite problem with that. I wonder if Lucas (prince of darkness) still sells replacement smoke?
They sure do.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 10:34 PM
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I still say sparking when hooking up a battery is NOT normal and something is causing it
a normal battery install removal should NOT have sparks,
its asking for a larger problem(like a battery exploding)
you MIGHT have a short that is grounding things out and when your removing/installing your causing things to make contact
this again is NOT normal !

a mouse can certainly chew thru a wire over night, its how it happens, they don't just nibble a little today then tomorrow and sop on, and even if they did, it can go from good to bad JUST LIKE THAT over night, 10 minutes later or?? what ever time frame you wish, it happens when it happens!


if you have a electrical short, it can cause a FIRE to, so I'd be unhooking battery while its parked to be on the safe side till you find the issue!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mrbb View Post
I still say sparking when hooking up a battery is NOT normal and something is causing it
a normal battery install removal should NOT have sparks,
its asking for a larger problem(like a battery exploding)
you MIGHT have a short that is grounding things out and when your removing/installing your causing things to make contact
this again is NOT normal !

a mouse can certainly chew thru a wire over night, its how it happens, they don't just nibble a little today then tomorrow and sop on, and even if they did, it can go from good to bad JUST LIKE THAT over night, 10 minutes later or?? what ever time frame you wish, it happens when it happens!


if you have a electrical short, it can cause a FIRE to, so I'd be unhooking battery while its parked to be on the safe side till you find the issue!

Try it on your car, in the dark.



I'm not saying it doesn't have an electrical problem. !


edit- I haven't had to change the battery on the newer ATVs yet, but I get a spark on my street bike when I connect the battery, and it has no devices with memory or even a radio or clock. It can sit for a year without draining the battery and it has no electrical issues.

Last edited by Moccasin Ranger; 10-17-2019 at 01:09 AM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SparkyF250 View Post
They sure do.



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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 01:27 PM
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A lot of these old 450s would melt the plug on the regulator when it went bad. I would inspect that closely.



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